While video games are only just exploding in recent decades, they’ve been around for longer. The advent of video games goes as far back as 1952, when A. S. Douglas, a British professor, created OXO. First, it was known as tic-tac-toe or noughts and crosses; he created it as part of his dissertation. Also, William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two in 1958 on the massive analog computer, and in 1962 Steve Russell invented Spacewar.
The history of the video games industry is a pretty long and interesting one that many aren’t aware of. So keep reading as we journey through the evolution of the video games industry from the 1970s until the 2020s.
Video Games – The 1970s
Between the late 60s to the early 70s, the first multi-program video game system that was TV-compatible came into existence as “The Brown Box.” Then, in 1972, the first video game home console surfaced and was tagged “the Odyssey;” it fizzled out a few years later. However, before it did, one of its 28 games served as an inspiration for the first arcade video game, Atari’s Pong. Atari released Pong in 1972, after which it released the game’s home version in 1975.
Magnavox and Sanders Associates sued Atari for copyright infringement later; Atari settled and became a licensee for Atari. In 1977, Atari 2600 (aka the Video Computer System) came out as a home console with joysticks and interchangeable game cartridges. Other milestones in the 1970s include the release of the Space Invaders in 1979 and the launch of Activision in 1979.
The video games industry will remember the early 1980s for several things resulting from the major crash. That includes competition from video gaming, an oversaturated market for game consoles, and too many low-quality, exaggerated games. The crash lasted two years, causing several video game console companies to go bankrupt. However, the industry began to recover in 1985 when Nintendo Entertainment System surfaced in the United States with improved consoles.
NES brought consoles with 8-bit graphics, sound, and gameplay more advanced than the previous ones. By 1989, NES was making waves with its 8-bit Game Boy video game device and the video game Tetris. Sega released the 16-bit Genesis console in 1989, a successor to its Sega Master System that couldn’t compete against Nintendo.
In 1991, NES used its technological superiority, the release of Genesis, and clever marketing to make significant rivalry against Sega. It released its 16-bit Super NES console and launched the first real console war in North America. Between the early and mid-1990s, several popular games like Mortal Kombat and Fighter II were released on both consoles. Also, video games began appearing on the Bit Screen, starting with Super Mario Bros and several others after it.
In 1995, Sega released the first-ever 32-bit console, its Saturn system; it played games on CDs instead of cartridges. A year later, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64, its cartridge-based 64-bit system – a major competition for Sega.
2000 to the 2010s
Sony has always been a dominator in the video games market and will remain so till the next generation. It released the PlayStation in 2000; it became the best-selling game console. Meanwhile, Sega closed up shop on the system in 2001 and became a third-party software company.
Between 2005 and 2006, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii began the modern age of high-definition gaming. By the end of the decade and the beginning of the next, video games left screens for social media platforms and mobile devices. They began reaching a more casual gaming audience. 2011 saw the release of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, marking the entry of video games into the physical world.
In 2012, Nintendo released Wii U while Sony released PlayStation 4, and Microsoft released Xbox One in 2013. However, Nintendo’s Wii U was a commercial failure; its touch screen feature nonetheless; lost its completion and was discontinued in 2017. Sony released the PlayStation 4 Pro in 2016, a more powerful version of its console and the first with 4K video output. After Wii U was discontinued, Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, the only system that supported handheld and television-based gaming.
Conclusion: Video Games Industry in the 2020s
Over 2.7 billion gamers worldwide were recorded in 2020 as smartphones, streaming services, and media games penetrated the industry. In addition, Microsoft and Sony are launching cloud and streaming games as they develop new consoles. Meanwhile, Google and Amazon are launching their services which will work on multiple devices, including mobile phones.
With the advent of cloud gaming and 5G technology in 2021, the video games industry is exploding. In the 2020s, the video games industry will realize more growth than ever recorded.